Chandigarh, March 27 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday announced that wheat harvesting in the state would commence around mid-April on account of weather conditions but assured smooth procurement and timely payments.

The wheat harvesting is delayed due to weather conditions and is likely to start only by April 12-15 in the state, the Chief Minister said after reviewing arrangements for harvesting of potato and wheat crop.

Proper harvesting arrangements were being put in place for harvesting and storage of potato crop, said Amarinder Singh, adding the government would also ensure smooth procurement and release of timely payment to wheat farmers.

Detailed guidelines for wheat harvesting were expected to be issued by March 31, said an official spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has directed officials of the Horticulture Department, the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation and the Punjab Mandi Board to work out the modalities, in coordination with the respective district officials, to allow farmers to harvest and transport their horticulture produce for marketing without putting them to any more hardship.

A spokesperson for the Chief Minister’s Office said a detailed list of district mandi officers, along with their contact numbers, has been issued by Punjab Mandi Board so that farmers can contact the officer concerned.

In line with the Chief Minister’s directive, the Additional Chief Secretary Development-cum-Financial Commissioner Horticulture has also issued an advisory asking all Deputy Commissioners to grant the relevant permissions and relaxation to the farm labour and farmers for harvesting and transporting the horticulture produce, including vegetables and fruits to the markets, as well as cold storage.

Underlining the importance of maintaining regular supply chain of essential commodities of horticulture produce in these critical times of statewide lockdown, he directed that the necessary restrictions relating to the health advisories of social distancing, use of masks, hand-wash etc may be included in the permissions.

Director Horticulture Shailender Kaur has provided a list of farmers who require labour for harvesting and need transportation of their produce to the markets as well as cold stores.

–IANS

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